Being a chef I have had the pleasure and advantage of being able to try a very large array of foods and cuisines from all over the world.
However, there are some foods that stay in your mind, the ones that you just can’t get enough of and you find yourself hunting these products down and continuing to put them on menus.
Here are some of the products that stand out amongst the rest and they definitely should be a part of your list of the ones that you need to try. In no particular order.
1. Wattleseed – The amazing hazelnut and coffee-like flavours that work well in savoury and sweet dishes. Try using as a crust for lamb even or in a panna cotta.
2. Truffle Oil – Can be used as a great flavour enhancer. Try mixing through mash potato or even just dribbling over your eye fillet before serving.
3. Duck – No matter which way duck is cooked, it’s fantastic. The rich flavour of this fatty meat is to die for.
4. Bone Marrow - Wobbly, greasy and rather rich. Scoop out the centre of roasted beef bones and spread the marrow on toast.
5. Black Sapote – Or Chocolate Pudding Fruit, grown in Northern Qld this fruit is delicious eaten fresh or used as a chocolate substitute in recipes and milkshakes.
6. Baklava - A rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo dough filled with chopped walnuts or pistachios and sweetened with syrup or honey.
7. Eggs Benedict - A dish consisting of a poached egg on top of ham topped with hollandaise sauce all sitting on a toasted muffin half. Other variations include bacon or smoked salmon.
8. Monin Rose Syrup – Great in desserts or over ice-cream. Available in delis.
9. Blue Cheese – I mean good blue cheese. It’s fantastic served room temperature on a plain cracker or even in a creamy sauce.
10. Wagyu Beef – I’m talking about genuine top grading Wagyu Beef where the steak is more white than red. If you’ve had it in a burger then you haven’t had it at all. Even try is sashimi style.
11. Steak Tartare - A meat dish made from finely chopped, ground or thinly sliced raw beef. Also served with chopped capers, onions, parsley, egg yolk, cornichons, and lemon juice.
12. Leek – Cooked out with butter and cream for a melt-in-your-mouth accompaniment for fish or chicken.
13. Hungry Jacks Grilled Chicken Burger – Seriously, if you’ve tried one you would know what I mean.
14. Green Ants – Usually found in the tropics, licking their bum will give you an intense lemon hit.
15. Sweetened Condensed Milk – Drink straight from the can or mixed with Milo.
16. Couverture Chocolate – A very high quality chocolate that contains extra cocoa butter. The higher percentage of cocoa butter, combined with proper tempering, gives the chocolate more sheen, firmer "snap" when broken, and a creamy mellow flavour.
17. Kangaroo – Think of a softer beef. Kangaroo has a very low percentage of fat. Best served medium-rare and goes well with robust fruit chutneys.
18. Vegemite – An Australian favourite. A strong dark brown paste perfect for spreading on toast, as a hot beverage or even in mashed potato.
19. Prosciutto and Smoked Pear – Smoke wedges of pear and wrap in prosciutto, even drizzle some blue cheese sauce over the top.
20. Foie Gras - A rich, buttery, and delicate pate made from the liver of force-fed fattened ducks or geese.
21. Deb Instant Mash Potato – Quite different from proper mash potato but the convenience and flavour is still spectacular. Great with packet gravy.
22. Maldon Sea Salt – Or another high quality sea salt. The difference a good salt makes to a dish is phenomenal. Stir it through a risotto and after every two or three bites, you will get an amazing flavour burst from the flakes.
23. Barramundi – An amazing strong flavoured fish that can take on nearly any accompaniment.
24. Red Wine and Chocolate – One of the most amazing matches you can put together. Make a sauce out of these two and use for sweet or even savoury.
25. Witchetty Grub – A testing choice but a good one. It tastes like fried egg mixed with macadamia nuts.
26. Cuttlefish – Similar to calamari but a lot more delicate. The taste is more richer and the texture is more softer.
27. Abalone - Abalone are basically large marine snails which feed on algae. Slice thinly and sear quickly. Less is more when cooking abalone. You don’t need to add anything.
28. Crocodile Legs - Crocodile legs hold a strange resemblance to tip-less chicken wings, only bigger, meatier and with a distinct sweet pork flavour. Tender, juicy and flavoursome.
29. Wallaby Ribs – Wallaby ribs are an amazing alternative to the common pork spare ribs. While having a lot less meat they provide a tasty snack perfect for finger food.
30. Lemon Aspen – A small grape-sized fruit that has a lemon hit the size of a speeding truck. Great for sauces, beverages, marinades or a flavour enhancer.
31. Riberries – A small tartish berry with a strong clove flavour. Goes great with apple sauce or even to just eat on their own.
32. Mutton Bird (pictured) - Mutton birds have a very rich and unique flavour that is either loved or loathed. Their meat is rather sweet but is closely followed up with a bitter charred-like taste.
So if you see any of these foods next time you are dining or browsing at your local foodstore, take a risk and try them. You never know, you might actually enjoy them and go back for more.
Matt Clark Frelance Food Writer and Culinary Madness